4,000 crime reports kept hidden

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BAGUIO CITY—Police officers manning precincts in Baguio and other Cordillera towns are facing administrative sanctions for hiding up to 4,000 criminal complaints in 2012 to improve their peace and order situation reports, a top police official in the region said on Tuesday.

Addressing the Cordillera Regional Peace and Order Council here, Chief Supt. Benjamin Magalong, regional police director, said he discovered that at least four police stations in Baguio had not recorded complaints filed in the barangay levels, many of them cases of domestic violence or fights that were settled by village officials.

He also discovered that an assortment of police units in some parts of Benguet, Mt. Province and Abra provinces had kept criminal complaints away from blotter entries last year.

Incomplete picture

Magalong said the exclusion of these cases from the official record would have affected the integrity of the Cordillera police’s 2012 crime evaluation, which has been aided by computer programs that use geographic information systems.

Almost all police stations in the region have been required to type in daily blotter reports to a dedicated online police data bank that is administered by a special information technology unit at Camp Dangwa, the regional police headquarters in La Trinidad, Benguet.

Magalong did not identify the police officers who were punished for hiding crime data.

He made the revelation shortly after police outlined the latest crime situation in the Cordillera, covering January to July this year.

Most crimes

Most of the crimes reported and addressed by police this year took place in Baguio, with Benguet, Mt. Province, Ifugao, Abra, Kalinga and Apayao provinces representing a combined 10 percent of Cordillera index crimes documented, said Senior Supt. Ernesto Gaab, Cordillera police director for intelligence and detection.

Index crimes are those against people, such as murder, homicide or physical injuries, and crimes against property, such as theft and robbery.

Apayao remained the most peaceful, where crime reports reached a peak in March with 16 cases. Only three cases were reported in April and 12 cases in July, Gaab said.

Preempting violence

Vincent Tallatag, Apayao provincial administrator, said most crimes involved families from villages, so dialogues became necessary to preempt community violence there.

Gaab said Baguio crimes peaked in February with 584 cases and police saw complaints fall gradually to 495 cases in July. He said most of the Baguio cases involved theft and robbery.

Magalong said the evolving crime map for 2013 indicated a rise in rape cases in Benguet, Mt. Province and Ifugao. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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